The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board took small steps Tuesday toward a sweeping student assignment review designed to reduce concentrations of poverty, ease crowding, support strong schools and offer alternatives to weak ones.
The board held a public discussion of the goals of the review, designed to take effect in the 2017-18 school year, and unanimously approved an opinion survey on student assignment that will be available online from Friday to Feb. 22.
Superintendent Ann Clark said she expects to report results in March. It will be available in English and Spanish.
No vote was taken on the goals; that’s scheduled for Feb. 23, after a public hearing Feb. 9. Board member Rhonda Lennon questioned the timing and process, saying the board needs to defer either the assignment review or an anticipated superintendent search. The board will meet Saturday to discuss that search, after an all-day session set for last Friday was snowed out.
“The process is just flawed, in my opinion,” Lennon said. “In the end I will probably vote no on pretty much all of it.”
Other members didn’t respond to her call to delay one of the big items in front of the board. But member Ericka Ellis-Stewart noted that the policy committee has been working on student assignment for almost a year, in public meetings attended by most board members.
“It’s not like there’s this secret group that has been meeting,” Ellis-Stewart said.
Clark and several board members said the goals will help the board hire a consultant next month to work on a plan. The survey results will be used to shape the plan.
The board’s plan also calls for getting other public officials involved in the quest for an assignment plan that can unite the community.
Members have talked about creating a joint task force. For now, they’ll start with an update to county commissioners next month.
▪ Saturday: School board discusses a superintendent search, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Carolinas Aviation Museum, 4672 First Flight Drive.
▪ Feb. 9: School board meeting will include a public comment period on student assignment goals. 6 p.m. in the meeting chamber of the Government Center.
▪ Feb. 11: Policy committee continues student assignment discussion. 10:30 a.m. in Room 527 of the Government Center.
▪ Feb. 23: Board votes on student assignment goals. 6 p.m. in Room 267 of the Government Center.